Supreme Court to decide whether the Boston Marathon Bomber receives the death penalty



CNBC’s Perry Russom reports on the case of Dzhokhar Tzarnaev, the surviving Boston Marathon Bomber, who is waiting to hear whether the Supreme Court will reinstate the death penalty in his case. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday on whether the death sentence should be reinstated for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted of carrying out the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

The court’s liberal justices grilled a Biden administration lawyer who argued that they should reimpose the death penalty for Tsarnaev, 28. The sentence was recommended by a jury but vacated by an appeals court. Some of the court’s conservatives, who outnumber the liberals six to three, appeared skeptical of the arguments made by Tsarnaev’s attorney.

The justices focused largely on evidence involving Tsarnaev’s late brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, that was omitted from Dzhokhar’s trial in federal district court in Massachusetts.

Defense lawyers said the district court’s exclusion of that evidence — which was related to a triple murder that Tamerlan’s friend accused him of committing — undermined their case that Tamerlan influenced Dzhokhar.

Justice Elena Kagan noted to Deputy Solicitor General Eric Feigin that the jury was allowed to hear evidence about Tamerlan “poking somebody in the chest” and shouting at people “all because that showed what kind of person Tamerlan was and what kind of influence he might have had over his [younger] brother.”

“And yet this court kept out evidence that Tamerlan led a crime that resulted in three murders?” Kagan asked.

The federal government has argued to the Supreme Court that the appellate judgment was wrong, and that the U.S. will have to conduct a fraught new penalty trial if its judgment is allowed to stand.

Lawyers for Tsarnaev have responded that even if the high court vacated the appellate ruling and sent the case back for further review, issues with the jury and the evidence presented during Tsarnaev’s trial would lead to the same outcome.

The federal government is pushing for the death penalty for Tsarnaev even as President Joe Biden’s Justice Department takes action to halt federal executions. Former President Donald Trump’s administration, which asked the Supreme Court to review the appeals court’s ruling on Tsarnaev, carried out 13 such executions during Trump’s final months in office.

“I’m wondering what the government’s endgame is here,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett asked Feigin.

“If you win presumably that means that [Tsarnaev] is relegated to living under threat of a death sentence that the government doesn’t plan to carry out, so I’m just having trouble following the point,” Barrett said.

Feigin responded that the government “continues to believe the jury imposed a sound verdict.” He said that that judgment for capital punishment for Tsarnaev “should be respected.”

The U.S. in its petition to the Supreme Court described the April 15, 2013, Boston bombings as “one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks since the 9/11 atrocities.”

Three people, including an 8-year-old child, were killed and hundreds were wounded when two pressure-cooker bombs filled with metal shrapnel detonated near the crowded marathon finish line. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, both described as jihadists, fled the scene, kicking off a four-day manhunt during which Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier was shot dead.

Tamerlan died in a gunfight with police in Watertown, Massachusetts. An injured Dhzokhar, who ran over his brother as he drove away in a stolen Mercedes, was found hours later hiding in a boat parked in a nearby backyard.

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23 Responses

  1. beezymeech says:

    death is easy. you close your eyes and you rest. life and existence is hard and painful. let him rot in prison.

  2. what i thought he already died? He is still alive 8 years later still hasnt been killed by the death penalty?

  3. evan strain says:

    This guy is still alive? Wtf is taking so long?

  4. Peter Beadle says:

    We can't drag this on for 8 years my tax dollars is paying for his housing… so are his victims!!

  5. DJ Z says:

    This is why, I will never be a lawyer.
    Its like saying a guy that released bio chemicals and killed 40% of the population, innocent.

  6. Mike Hancho says:

    If this was Georgia, his ass would been dead a month after his conviction. Massachusetts is a weak ass liberal state

  7. GoodCitizen says:

    Give him life in solitary

  8. Marta Akh says:

    He is innocent, defamed whistleblower. Earlier known as Aaron Schwartz. He got a little big make up and a wig and was baptized as Jokhar Tsarnaev. Political prisoner, innocent man, he should be free

  9. Zahd Kitchen says:

    Free Tsarnaev Dzhokhar, Send him home to Chechnya!

  10. BooBooBunny says:

    Just give him life in jail so that he'll spend a lifetime regretting his decision. Offing him would be taking the easy way out.

  11. xSkrrrtx says:

    He’s 28 but we still only see his 19 year old photos, are death row/super max inmates not allowed photos?

  12. xPaulxDx says:

    Our government has been infiltrated, they left there soldiers and brought there corpses. They traded the lives of men who fought hard to defend our country just to retrieve tons of unfiltered refugees. Don’t be surprised if something crazy happens, our government is inviting terrorism. Freeing killers and killing the people ment to stop them

  13. Take him to south africa to seal island n tow him behind boat n wait

  14. good vibes says:

    He needs to get the death penalty. The punishment or bombing innocent people has to be a deterrent for future potential killers. Life in Prison isn't strong enough, Lethal Injection is.

  15. MrLESLO says:

    Can we at least hear from the guy?

  16. Bugok says:

    nah a death penalty will not make him suffer let him suffer in jail and feel every moment of his consequenses

  17. smh it's strange how the gvmt. keeps these radical ppl alive . wite ppl

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